Movie Review: Ride 'Em Cowboy (1942)

by StevenHelmer

A review of the 1942 comedy western starring Bud Abbott and Lou Costello.

Synopsis: A hot dog and peanut vendor flee their angry boss and accidentally board a train heading west. Mistaken as cowboys when they arrive, they end up working at a dude ranch and helping out as a wild west writer learns to ride horses and rope calves in time for a local rodeo so he's able to keep up his cowboy persona.


I came across this film on one of our movie channels a couple days ago and, since my oldest daughter has been a big Abbott and Costello fan since I first introduced her to the comedy pair a few years ago, recorded it so we could watch it together. We did just that and, while it isn't my favorite Abbott and Costello film, I did think it was pretty decent.

Normally, when we watch one of their movies, we always tend to notice the same jokes we've seen over and over again. And, to be fair, that was the case a couple times in this film too. However, there was also some unique comedy in it as well, including some scenes that were much funnier than expected. Included in this was a very memorable scene with Costello trying to figure out how to milk a cow. Simply put, that was one of the funniest scenes I've ever seen in one of their films.

The budding love story (something that always seems to happen in their films) between the cowgirl (Gwynne) and writer (Dick Foran) was a bit predictable. But, it did manage to be entertaining and, at very least, didn't seem forced like similar storylines we've seen in some of their other films. The writer's participation in the rodeo also gave the film a little bit of suspense, both because of an attempt to keep him out of the rodeo and because, if he didn't perform well, it could expose him as a fraud.

I think my only real complaint about this movie is there were a few too many song and dance numbers. Granted, the music was fun and upbeat. And, we got to hear a legend like Fitzgerald perform. But, the music routines also had a bit of a filler feel to them, didn't always mesh with the plot and did make the movie seem like it was dragging on a bit.

Ride Em Cowboy [VHS]

New VHS Tape; sealed shrink wrap (as shown) "Abbott & Costello: Ride Em Cowboy [VHS]" FAST shipping...(T13)

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Final Opinion

I think the writers could have cut back on the song and dance a little bit. But, overall, this was a funny, entertaining movie that we did enjoy watching. If you haven't seen it, I recommend taking the time to watch it sometime.

My Grade: B

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Updated: 11/13/2017, StevenHelmer
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DerdriuMarriner on 04/02/2022

StevenHelmer, Thank you for product lines, pretty pictures and practical information.
The library system here doesn't have Ride Em Cowboy among its Blu-ray and DVD collections. But I expect to keep looking since a film in a film omnibus collection may hide in plain sight from the online catalogue because of the collection having more films than there are spaces for cataloguers to fill with catalogue information.

Who would be able to step into Abbott and Costello roles nowadays?

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